close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!
March 21, 2014

Sindh govt report an attempt to hoodwink court: SC

National

March 21, 2014

KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday while rejecting the report presented by the Sindh government on Thar drought maintained that it was tantamount to throw dust in the eyes. The three-member bench of the apexcourt headed by Chief Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani on Thursday took up suo moto case regarding the deaths of over 100 people, mostly women and children, due to famine-like conditions in Tharparkar.
The apex court observed that the authorities could not be absolved of their responsibilities by merely saying the deaths were the results of a natural calamity.The court also ordered the Sindh chief secretary to submit a comprehensive report on the causes of drought in Tharparkar and other districts and what long term remedial measures the irrigation department would suggest to avert the situation in future.
The court observed that distribution mechanism was flawed and proper food and water was not supplied to the affected people in the drought hit-areas asking Chief Secretary as whether every citizen affected by the drought had been provided with wheat and water.
Chief Justice observed there was lack of political will as public functionaries did not want to tackle such issues however courts were not bound to such expediencies. The court observed that government servants were duty bound to serve the country and the nation and directing chief secretary to file the reply in professional manner.
The court observed that no official would be spared who were found guilty of negligence in discharge of duties in the drought affected areas.On complaints regarding reluctance of doctors to join duties at districts like Tharparkar, the court also directed chief secretary to examine the desirability of making six months’ community service for final year students of MBBS as compulsory to obtain the degrees.
Sindh Chief Secretary Sajjad Saleem Hotiana admitted the lapse of the officials concerned despite the fact that there was forewarning of the incoming

drought by the National Disaster Management Cell (NDMC). He submitted that officers who were guilty of the dereliction of duties were being proceeded against.
The court also confronted chief secretary about the report of judicial inquiry carried out by the Senior Civil Judge, Mithi, pursuant to a direction of the High Court of Sindh. The court observed that such a report made a painful reading and pointed out the lapses and criminal breach of duties by those who were directly concerned with the matter.
The judicial officer pointed out in his report that godown in charge Mithi misguided him about the presence of relief wheat bags and depot keepers of Taluka Diplo had not submitted the required register/report regarding the distribution of relief wheat. The judicial officer submitted that district administration did not provide him data regarding the steps taken to ensure proper supply of food and drinking water and the availability of life saving drugs in the hospitals and remained negligent and careless regarding the compliance of the court order.
The chief secretary however submitted that he was not aware of this report and said that he was not in a position to reject the findings. He added that unprecedented efforts were being made by the government, law enforcement agencies and civil society, Disaster Management Cell Director General Salman Shah submitted that his department had informed the Secretary Rehabilitation and Minister for Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation about the drought conditions through a letter in November last year. According to the letter, the disaster management had informed the government about the drought situation mentioning that Pakistan had a wet season from 2010-2012. However, the current drought situation in year 2013 had resulted in the immaturity of grass and crop as reported by Deputy Commissioner Tharparkar.
He said that government had been recommended for maximum support to be extended to district Tharparkar.Secretary Health’s focal person submitted that there was lack of professionalism among the doctors and there was absence of spirit for a community service. He said that government posted 24 doctors in Tharparkar hospitals but only 8 doctors joined duty despite all of them were belonging to the district.
He said that doctors who had not joined duty had been issued show cause notices. He submitted that government prior to that had undertaken vertical programmes for healthcare and the doctors posted to fields did not report for duty and some of them obtained stay orders from the Sindh High Court. Upon which, the court observed how high court could interfere in the service matter and directed advocate general to file application for vacation of the stay orders.The court directed chief secretary to submit a report within a week about the causes of drought in Tharparkar. The court adjourned the hearing of the case for first week of April.